I always love some good Italian food…especially pasta. Pasta has become such a universal food that you can find it anywhere in the world. But this seemingly simple dish is probably one of the hardest dishes you can ever make. Growing up in a culture where noodles are stables in our daily diet, I’ve had my fair share of amazing noodles as well as bad ones. The ones that are amazing have this great Q-Q quality (as we Asians like to call it). It kind of bounces in your mouth. To us, noodles have life…as cheesy as that sounds. Pasta noodles behave the same. With the right skills, it’s not gonna taste flat in your mouth.
I’ve made two trips to Italy (and about to embark on my 3rd next week to Cinque Terre) so I’ve had the experience of eating legit pasta. Not the store bought ones where you boil in water, but the ones where the chefs make fresh in the morning, and serve it up with amazing local and fresh produce.
So it was no mistake we found ourselves heading to East Mama one sunny day for lunch. The place doesn’t take reservations, and when we arrived at around 12:10pm there was already a line to get in. We were greeted by several of the staff members, who, I could tell from their accents, were all Italian. I was getting excited. There is no other place to get good Italian food than from the Italians themselves. It’s really weird that certain types of cuisine can be recreated elsewhere and taste good, but when it comes to pasta…only the Italians can get it right. (East Mama makes their pasta fresh everyday in the morning.)
The entire decor of the restaurant is pretty rustic, a theme that matches their rustic home-made cuisine. I also love the plates they use – style and designs from southern Italian coastal cities like Positano and Sorrento. They also have a very traditional pizza oven, which probably explains why there were such raves about their pizza. Unfortunately I am not a fan of pizza, so I didn’t want to try.
We ordered three entrées – mozzarella fumé (smoked mozzarella), ricotta au miel (ricotta cheese drizzled with honey), and jambon San Daniel 24 months.
This was the first smoked mozzarella I had, and I loved the wood-smoked taste that accompanied it! Although the outside was a bit hard from the baking, I’m guessing, I still really enjoyed it. They added sprinkles of pepper and a drizzle of olive oil with it.
I am not a fan of honey, but the combination was perfect. The ricotta was so creamy, but still maintained its texture. The sprinkle of pepper was a great touch as well, balancing out the sweetness. So goooood.
The ham was, needless to say, amazing. Since it was AOP and 24 months. If you go, I suggest definitely getting a cheese and meat entree to share. We were so busy enjoying our food that we didn’t realize were were half-way full, and had almost finished our wine…oops.
We ordered their Black Mamba pasta, which was squid ink pasta with calamari and lemon zests, and truffle pasta with mascarpone cream and mushrooms.
The squid ink pasta was good. But that’s probably all it was. The pasta itself was made and cooked really well, but I think the entire dish could have used more flavor and more lemon zests.
The truffle pasta on the other hand, however, was the best I’ve ever had. Even better than Maison de la Truffe. We swooned at the aroma of truffle when it was presented on our table. The pasta was made so well, with a lot of bounce and flexibility. It not only smelled like a mouth-watering dish, but it looked like a mouth-watering dish. And don’t even get me started on how amazing it tasted.
Another place is about to open in Oberkampf. Hopefully I will still be here when they make their debut.
TEL: 01 43 41 32 15
133 rue du Faubourg St Antoine, 75011 Paris